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  • Dr Patrice Bonnafoux
  • Honorary Research Associate
  • p.bonnafoux@ucl.ac.uk
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Patrice Bonnafoux

Patrice graduated in Archaeology from Université Toulouse II - Le Mirail (France) after completing a BA dissertation on the Classic period (AD 200-900) Lowlands Maya stelae. Following his interest in Maya studies, and more particularly iconography, he decided to focus on the Early Classic period (AD 200-566) which had been barely investigated. In 2002, he received an MA in Archaeology from the Institute of Art and Archaeology, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. His topic of research was the iconography of Early Classic ceramics from the Maya Lowlands. Envisioned as an introduction to a Ph.D., the MA dissertation addressed methodological issues related to the study of the iconography depicted on these ceramics. The iconographic study itself was carried out as a Ph.D. in Anthropology / Archaeology, which he obtained in 2008 from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. The aim of his Ph.D. dissertation was to provide stylistic and iconographic analysis as well as to place this data into its socio-cultural, ideological, political, and environmental contexts. This work was awarded the highest merits by a committee composed of R.A.Joyce (U.C. Berkeley), M.-C.Arnauld (CNRS - UMR 8096), Alfonso Lacadena Garcia-Gallo (Universidad Complutense Madrid), C.-F.Baudez (CNRS - UMR 8096) and D.Michelet (CNRS - UMR 8096).

His research interests focus on the Preclassic to Classic transition and the emergence of Classic Maya civilisation during the Early Classic (2nd to 6th centuries AD). Barely studied and poorly understood, this period has been a time of profound changes and great innovations. To understand the dynamics through which change occurred, he explored various topics such as Maya iconography and worldviews; Material culture and innovations; Environmental stress, crisis and socio-cultural adaptation; Networks of contact and exchange; Semiotics; and Design and communication.

Research Interests

  • Mesoamerican Archaeology
  • Maya Iconography and Worldviews
  • Emergence of Classic Maya civilization
  • Human-environment interaction
  • Material culture and innovation
  • Crisis and socio-cultural adaptation
  • Semiotic, design, and communication
  • Bonnafoux Patrice, Nicolas Lastanopoulos, Julie Patrois, Marie-Charlotte Arnauld, Dominique Michelet, Philippe Nondédéo, and Grégory Pereira (2011), “L'un dans l'autre: figurines gigognes du Dépôt spécial 69-2 de Becan, Mexique”, in Profils d'objets. Approches d'anthropologues et d'archéologues, pp. 59-69, edited by F. Wateau, C. Perlès, and P. Soulier, Colloques de la Maison Renè-Ginouvès, 7. Editions De Brocca.
  • Bonnafoux Patrice ( 2011), “Waters, Droughts, and Early Classic Maya Worldviews”, in Ecology, Power, and Religion in Maya Landscapes, edited par Christian Isendahl and Bodil Liljefors Person. Acta Mesoamerica, Vol. No.(t.b.a.) Verlag Anton Saurwein, Markt Schwaben.
  • Nondédéo, Philippe, Dominique Michelet, Alejandro Patiño, Martin Rangel, Patrice Bonnafoux, Diana Méndez, Julien Sion, Diana Belches, and Geraldine Fondebilla (2010) “Acercamiento a los conjuntos residenciales de Naachtun : resultados preliminares de la primera temporada de campo (2010)”, in XXIV Simposio de investigaciones arqueológicas en Guatemala, Guatemala.

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